Poverty is one of the reasons why vulnerable children are in care.

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Poverty is one of the reasons why vulnerable children are in care. What is worse is that the parents of these children are often working, yet the wages they earn are not enough to support them.

Further, increasing living costs and decreasing benefits make it difficult for families to feed themselves, especially as Universal Credit’s safety valve of an extra £20.00 per week finishes this month. When this goes, more families than ever are in poverty.

Families are worried their children will be taken into care.

Food banks are a blessing; they provide families in need with more food. However, families are concerned because they know that children living in poverty will come under poverty’s label.

Their fears are real, they fear social services will take their children into care due to poverty, and this is what is happening.

To make matters worse, we have a massive shortage of foster carers to care for these children. The cost of Children’s residential care, especially in the independent sector, is severely crippling Local Authority budgets for Children’s Services.

Why are children in care if we don’t have enough foster carers?

It baffles me because the need for foster carers is greater than ever, and we don’t have enough foster carers to manage the number of children in care waiting. For me, placing more children in care does not make sense; because where these children will go if there is no provision for them? 

Fewer foster carers mean that there are fewer children placed with them. Also, if there are no Local Authority Residential Children’s homes, the children will go to expensive private Residential Care. These providers often charge Local Authorities extortionate fees for each child in their residential services. If you multiply these fees by three for a sibling group in long-term residential care, you can work out for yourself why huge profits are made from vulnerable children in care.

Our Local Authorities pay more to IFA’s for their foster carers.

Independent Fostering Agencies are also charging Local Authorities higher fees for their foster carers. Maybe if our Local Authorities and the Not-for-profit Charities had more foster carers, they wouldn’t need to use expensive foster carers from IFAs?

Indeed, it seems that because families are now struggling, there is a Machiavellian system that cruelly takes children into care due to poverty? Surely, child poverty should not be a reason for families to separate?

Maybe if we gave more support to families when they need it to alleviate poverty in the first place, it would reduce the number of children needing foster carers? Or am I too simplistic in my views?

Massive changes are needed to alleviate poverty.

It is heart-breaking that Social Services remove children and place them in care because their parents don’t have enough money to feed them, even though they are working and in employment. Indeed, we should be calling for massive changes; because it is unacceptable that families who want to stay together are unable to due to poverty?

Furthermore, if your standard of living is dictated by the postcode lottery of where you live, not how you live, and the chances of support if you ever get stuck are zero, how are families meant to cope?

‘Child poverty rates are
projected to increase
to 5.2 million by 2022.’


Poverty is no longer a postcode lottery.

Austerity has been a geographical divide, with the North bearing the brunt of austerity; however, affluent areas in the South are now feeling the effects of poverty. Suppose you combine poverty with the impact of a global pandemic and Brexit? When you do, you realise that it becomes another ‘label’ to justify the actions that poverty brings.

According to an article in the Guardian, the North East of England has been hit very hard. The article reads:

The North-East has the highest rate of referrals to children’s social care in the UK, significantly higher than the national average, according to a joint report by the directors of children’s services in the region. Since 2009, the region has seen a 77% increase in its care population. Inner London has seen a 25% reduction over the same period.

The directors call for a “radical rethink” of how to provide safe and loving homes for children who cannot live with their birth family. They argue the “dysfunctional market” for children’s residential care must be dismantled or radically overhauled and profit-making eliminated or capped.’

Dire poverty in north-east England ‘driving many more children into care’ | Child protection | The Guardian

“8.4 million UK working-age adults live in
relative poverty; an increase of 500,000


Not for Profit Charities and communities coming together are the way forward.

Placing children in care because of the label ‘poverty’ has made them vulnerable; however, the support of strangers and communities working with Not-for-Profit Charities is making a significant impact. They have created support networks and campaigns to ensure vulnerable children and their families get the added support they need when it’s needed most.

Food poverty makes families vulnerable, and hungry children are less likely to concentrate at school; not surprisingly, they achieve less in life. Subsequently, the effects of poverty have a downward spiral effect on a child’s future and chances in life.

Furthermore, it was once seen as a geographical divide in which the ‘haves was versus the have nots,’ as my Nan would say. She wasn’t far wrong, and nothing has changed. Sadly, it has gone worse; there is no longer a geographical divide as poverty has now reached affluent areas of the South. Indeed, there has to be a better way for families during a pandemic in one of the wealthiest countries in the World.

Tough times are calling for tough decisions for families in poverty.

Coronavirus has lasting effects on families, especially Long Covid, as we are yet to find out exactly what we are dealing with. Subsequently, in these challenging times, parents face tough decisions for the future. One of the most heart-breaking decisions is to place your children into care because you can’t afford to feed them; sadly, this is what is happening.

It is no wonder that mental health problems for children and adults are rising; because the one thing families have, which children need, is love. However, love is not enough to keep families together; sadly, it has become a vicious circle that needs breaking.

Coronavirus; bringing out the best, and the worst in humanity.

Coronavirus is bringing the best out in us; however, it is bringing the worst out in others, and vulnerable families with no support feel neglected and helpless.

As a community, we work together with Not-for-Profit Charities and Community organisations to relieve families in poverty. However, that only works if they know where these organisations are and what they must do to get help?

Verve works alongside Not for Profit Charities. The campaigns we have created include the Knitting for Babies Appeal, The Bereavement Blankets Appeal and Emergency Food Parcels with Salford Food Parcels. They have had a significant impact on families.

The kindness of strangers making a difference in the smallest of ways.

However, we do not do this alone. We can support families because of the kindness of strangers who have come forward to knit for Babies and keep them warm. They knit Bereavement blankets that comfort people critically ill in hospital with COVID; whilst bringing a smile to children with the beautiful, knitted toys they donate.

Recently, I collected a considerable amount of knitted clothes that a kind lady near me had donated. She had spent hours knitting because it helped her forget herself and her troubles, but she struggled to sew them and finish them off. I told her, don’t worry, we’ll get this sorted out for you. And thanks to the ladies from the Glossopdale Charity Crafters knitting club who kindly offered their services to us, that’s precisely what is happening.

These women offer their support out of the kindness of their hearts; they are the best. Quite often, they too have been in a comparable situation themselves; they understand only too well the failings we have as a society to protect our vulnerable. This understanding is the motivation that drives them to make a difference in the smallest ways, with kindness and love.

How can we help to restore pride with kindness and love?

There is no reason working families should have children in care because of poverty; we must do something about this. The smallest of differences made, such as a knitted baby’s blanket, would cost over £10.00 in a store; however, donated and hand-knitted blankets have two advantages. The first, it’s saving Mum’s money which can go towards other things. Secondly, it restores pride because their baby looks beautifully warm, and finally because it is made with love.

Finally, children in care are waiting for foster carers to offer loving homes short term and emergency care until their parents get the help they need, or they can go to family members under Special Guardianships or Kinship foster care. Because of a shortage of foster carers, children have moved away from their communities, and sibling groups are separated. Siblings should always stay together; separating them has to stop, and we are recruiting foster carers to help with this.

If you are over 21 years old, have a spare bedroom and have time to dedicate to a vulnerable child or children, please get in touch. Alternatively, if you are a knitter/crocheter or a group who can help with our campaigns, we would love to get together.

Contact Verve.

If you want to find out more about fostering short term or emergency care with Not-for-Profit Charities; please, get in touch.

Verve does not charge charities for these campaigns and their management; we are self-funded through our foster care recruitment. We do not have donations, nor do we ask for them. Everything we do is to give back to our community because we know how harsh life is at the moment.

Today, we see the most significant indication of greed and selfishness as petrol and food in our shops are becoming scarce. Subsequently, people are panic buying and grabbing what they can; instead of taking what they need and leaving something left for others. But, other families don’t have the luxury of a car, nor can they afford to fill up their fridges. They have nothing, even though they work, making them feel even more of a failure.

It’s wrong, and we need to get a grip on selfishness and understand the consequences of our behaviour and its impact on the next generation we are failing.

‘Even the smallest gesture of kindness, when you are at your lowest ebb, makes an enormous difference. Furthermore, many of us have been there; we know how it feels. Together, we can all get back up again; as families in our community.

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